Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

to the woman who//
- gave birth to me
- loves to snuggle
- drove me to and from school, practice, piano lessons, and everywhere in between
- is always put together
- makes sure each and every birthday is perfect & special for me
- encourages me to try new things
- woke up at 5:15 every single day for 8 years to see her girlies off to seminary
- looks like my older sister
- loves me unconditionally
- inspires me to be the best version of myself
- has better fashion sense than most girls my age
- stalked me in SLC when i was on my mission and wasn't supposed to have visitors...
- taught me everything i know
- enriches my life through her endless wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence
- still rubs my back before i go to bed {when i'm home for the holidays}
- laughs at my jokes
- gives me her clothes whenever i say i like them
- doesn't like driving in the dark
- educated me in the art of how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie
- puts her family before herself
- is so creative and crafty
- instinctively knows when things are wrong
- understands what i need, even before i do
- sends me little texts every morning to remind me how much she loves me

i love you the millionest, SJ.  happy mother's day to jew <3

Thursday, July 2, 2015

the golden rule

"treat others the way you want to be treated" // the golden rule.  for the most part, i try to follow it.  now i'm not saying i'm perfect -- i'm known to be cranky and sometimes say things that might be better off left unsaid.  however, i truly believe that people deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and kindness.

some might say i have a problem with caring too much about people.  how is that possible?  when i meet someone i start to develop a close friendship with, i would do anything for them.  this is a solid trait to have.  however, we come to a problem: sometimes i care too much about people who don't reciprocate the love.  i'm an optimist (for the most part).  i LOVE to give people the benefit of the doubt.  if someone doesn't treat me with respect, i usually try to justify why they did [fill in the blank]: they're having a bad day, they didn't really think about their actions or the consequences of their actions, blah blah blah.

i was talking to my bff kim a few weeks ago and told her about a snituation that i was going through.  i was telling her about a recently developed friendship and how it was a very solid, very quality friendship.  i also mentioned how there were some things that were rubbing me the wrong way -- how i felt like actions were speaking louder than words and how i didn't really feel appreciated.  i kept trying to justify this friend's actions and kim finally stopped me and said, "ali.  you are too nice.  you have a habit of letting people walk all over you. sometimes you need to think about what's best for yourself, and sometimes that includes cutting toxic people out of your life."  what a wise woman, that kimmy t is.

i believe we are put in people's lives for a reason.  every single person we come in contact with has been placed in our paths.  sometimes i realize their purpose immediately and sometimes it takes me a little while to understand why some individual has been graced with my presence in their life.

going back to this friend // while this friendship isn't turning out exactly as i envisioned it, i know that there are reasons i am in this individuals life.  at first, i thought they were an answer to my prayer; and they definitely are -- but in ways i didn't plan.  then i realized maybe i was needed in their life more than they were needed in mine.

does that make sense?

on my mission, one of my mission presidents told me, "sometimes you're in a companionship for you and sometimes you're in a companionship for them; sometimes your companion might need you more than you need them.  and vice versa."  i think those words are very profound and i realize that statement can be applied in friendships and relationships throughout the rest of my life.  occasionally i'll meet someone and realize there's a special bond between us.  i have a habit of immediately thinking, "okay, this person is going to do [fill in the blank] and [fill in the blank some more] and fill this void i have in my life."  sometimes i'm right about the direction the friendship is going and sometimes i'm wrong.  but no matter what happens, i really try to be the best friend i can for that person, whether they deserve it or not.  sometimes if we treat them with the respect they deserve, they come back and treat us with that same respect.

i guess the moral of my story is this // sometimes we are in relationships and realize we aren't being treated the way we would hope to be treated.  whether you had envisioned the friendship going differently, or whether it's going how you envisioned it but not yielding the same results, i have learned that we should ALWAYS treat others the way we would want to be treated.  sometimes people might not treat us the way we want to be treated, but we but should always treat them the way we want to be treated.  in the end, if people have a problem with you it's generally a reflection of them and not you.

now go be the best answer to someone's prayer that you can possibly be //

xx A

Monday, June 22, 2015

happy birthday to you, SJ

today is a very special day // it's my mom's birthday.

this is the third year i won't be in my mom on her birthday and it's kind of sad.  there's something special about seeing your mom on her birthday and doing everything extra special for her.

my mom is a rockstar.  for the past 23 years of life, she has always made my birthdays extra special.  every year she comes up with a different theme for my sisters and i and decorates the dining room with that special theme and birthday presents.  she makes our favorite dinner and does everything in her power to make sure it's a perfect day for us.

the birthday thing isn't the only thing that makes her a rockstar; she's pretty much perfect in my eyes.  she is the sweetest woman you've ever met -- she would do anything for anyone, even if she doesn't know you that well.  she is a major people pleaser and feels guilty asking for help from anyone.  she is the best cook and loves to throw parties and entertain people.  she always puts other people before herself, even when she's sick or overwhelmed.  she never complains about anything [not that she has much to complain about -- she has the best husband, three nearly perfect daughters, and the cutest dog in all of A-town] and doesn't let other people's bad moods affect her.  she tries so hard to make other people happy.  she gives the best advice and always makes me feel like i'm the greatest person ever.  she is encouraging, optimistic, personable, and motivating.  she has been, and always will be, my number one fan.  she constantly amazes me with her generosity and desire to make everyone around her feel like they are the best people in the world.  she is uber complimentary and is definitely wins the best-dressed award, even if she wears her lulu's 24/7.

my only hope is that i can be half of the mom she is.  she is also incredibly gorgeous, so there's hope for the future :)

happy birthday to you, mama suze.  i love you the millionest <3

Monday, May 18, 2015

it's good

a friend shared a story with me awhile ago that i have loved ever since the moment i heard it.  i want to share it with you.

there once was a man who was of royal descent.  his best friend was a pauper.  they met when they were very young and grew up together.  the royal man was made king when he was older and he made his best friend his servant, so they spend time together.  the king went on an annual hunting trip every spring and he got to bring along his friend.  one particular hunting trip, the servant loaded the gun wrong and the king accidentally shot off half of his finger.  he was furious and sentenced his servant to life in prison.

the king realized that life was lonely without his friend, but he was so furious with him that it didn't matter.  again, the annual hunting trip came along and the king went without his sidekick.  on this particular hunting trip, a group of indigenous tribal people captured the king and were preparing to sacrifice him.  however, they realized that something was wrong: he was missing half of his finger [from the previous year's hunting trip].  they let him go because he wasn't a pure sacrifice.

upon his release, the king realized that the reason he was saved was because of his nub finger; without his servant friend, he'd be dead.  he immediately rushed into the prison and went to talk to his friend.  the king relayed the story and all the servant friend could say was, "it's good".  the king was super confused and asked the servant, "why is that the only thing you can say?  don't you realize that if it weren't for me, this past year of your life could have been amazing?"

the servant responded, "the reason you were spared from the sacrifice was because you were missing half of your finger.  i have all of my body parts.  if i would have been there, i would have been sacrificed."

ever since i've heard this story, the motto "it's good" constantly goes through my mind.  sometimes we may wonder why certain blessings aren't coming to us, despite the fact that we've been faithful and patient.  sometimes we find out why, and sometimes we don't.  however, the motto "it's good" can be a relief // everything in life is going to be okay.  if we dwell on the past and what we've missed or what things we wished would have happened, we might fail to remember the blessings that we did receive.

just remember: it's good.

Monday, February 9, 2015

ollie's adventures in NY

just over a month ago i got on an airplane with 2 suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack.  5 1/2 hours later i arrived at JFK and somehow managed to give my taxi driver a $20 tip as he dropped me off at my new apartment.  i found my way upstairs and was greeted by my perfect {new} roommate, alex, and her boyfriend.  i fell asleep on my heavenly bed and contemplated how life is absolutely incredible and most definitely unlike anything you have planned.

i've always had the dream to live in new york-- but i never thought it would become a reality.  when an opportunity presented itself to move out here for a few months to do an internship for a big 4 accounting firm, i couldn't believe something this exciting was really happening to me.  how often do you hear about someone moving across the country to pursue their dreams and they just have the most amazing experience and get slightly envious of them every time they tell you about their big adventure?  yeah-- i was going to be THAT girl.

i've realized that adventures come in all shapes and sizes.  and with those adventures come unexpected stories and emotions.

one of my first adventures happened as we were cleaning the church a few weeks ago.  yes, you might know where this is going-- it's the matzo ball story.  i was talking to this kid from utah about being a jew and he thought it was the coolest thing ever.  i asked him if he knew what a matzo ball was and he said, "yeah it's like a party they have when they come of age."  thankfully i hadn't had anything to drink within the past hour because the episode was even funnier in person.

there have been homeless people who have caught my attention-- one in particular.  i was walking to work one day with my lunch in a bag and i thought. "you know, if i see a homeless person i am going to give them my lunch."  and then lo and behold, i saw a man right up the road from me.  i stopped to give him my lunch and he said, "hold on-- what's in there?  i'm on a diet."  he then proceeded to stick his whole hand in my chicken and rice concoction and sniff it-- and then tried to give me back the leftovers.  um, pass...

i have heard my fair share of swearing and seen more than my fair share of people being rude to each other. but in between all of the profanity and shoving, there have been random acts of kindness that allow my faith in humanity to be restored.  alex and i were catching the train to church this past sunday and i couldn't get my metrocard out of my purse quick enough [i was only slightly paranoid because i had lost my metrocard the night before and had to buy a new one] and the train was getting ready to leave the station.  as i was clearly on the struggle bus, some guy, who was walking out of the train, said, "here" and swiped his metrocard for me.  that tidbit definitely belongs in a book somewhere.  it was perfect.  and the thing is, it probably meant nothing to him.  but it made my day.

then there's the opposite side of the adventure-- the fact that you're moving across the country.  when i came to new york, i had 3 friends-- my currrent roommate, alex, my old college roommate, logan, and her husband, charles.  in my mind i thought that i would go to church my first sunday and make a gazillion new friends; we'd go shopping, see plays, go exploring, and experience city life together.  in my mind, i didn't really think about how when i moved here i only knew 3 people.  i kinda sorta forgot how the whole "making friends" thing has to happen before i can be besties with someone.  i don't think i realized that moving somewhere new might put a damper on my social life-- and my social life is already that of an old married couple.

while i love living in the city that never sleeps [because that means there are food places open at all hours of the day] it can also feel a little bit lonely at times.  i'm having to learn to go outside of my comfort zone.  i'm learning to be independent; and i think that also means i'm learning to be an adult.

i'm not exactly sure why this whole new york thing worked out so perfectly.  but in the words of elder wirthlin, "come what may and love it."

i think i can do that.

xoxo ollie in NY

Thursday, December 11, 2014

what we believe and what we should do about it

i love the scriptures.  i especially love how i feel after i read them.  there are so many wonderful stories and life lessons to be found in each book of scripture, each chapter, each verse.

in Mosiah chapter 4, king benjamin is giving his sermon (think the first general conference) and tells us, in verse 10, "and again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."  the last part is what stuck out to me, "and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."  

i thought back to everything i believe in-- everything i stand for, who i desire to become, all of those things that i have faith will happen.  and i thought to myself, "what are some things i personally have a belief in?"  i made a little list in my head that included, but was not limited to:
-- the importance of being Christlike
-- treating others the way you want to be treated
-- having faith and trust in our Father in Heaven and know that everything will work out the way it's supposed to work out
-- knowing that i'll be needed where the Lord needs me to be

and i realized that i don't do a very good job in the application process of my beliefs -- yes, i believe wholeheartedly that everything will work out the way it's supposed to; but does that stop me from complaining when something doesn't happen the way i wanted it to?  do i really treat others the way i want to be treated?  am i really as nice to others as i could be?  as i should be?

"and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."  i don't think there could be a more applicable phrase during this time of year.  this Christmas is my first Christmas back home from my mission.  the Christmas season of my mission was by far the nicest-- people were more pleasant, more helpful, and were so willing to give.   if we believe in being Christlike, why aren't we this way all year round?  why do we feel it's acceptable to be rude to the lady in the mall when she takes for-evvvverrrrr ringing up our 3 articles of clothing, but during the holidays we find ourselves being more patient, forgiving, and loving?

the 13th article of faith states, "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to able to endure all things.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

if i truly believed in these things, wouldn't i seek to do them?

my thoughts sometimes aren't as eloquent as i would like them to be-- but i think it comes down to this: "if you believe all these things see that ye do them."  i feel like a missionary again with my little sermons and it is absolutely wonderful :)

now go out and change the world!  i know that i'm trying to :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

i know

i feel as if i'm able to express myself more clearly through writing, as opposed to speaking.  those who know me know that i'm really fluent in 4 languages -- sarcasm, saying the right thing at the wrong time, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, and english.

i am feeling very humbled today and want to express my testimony.

testimony (noun): personal beliefs and feelings of things one knows to be true, through personal experience and observations

i know that the Lord gives us challenges because he loves us.  i know he cares for us deeply and dearly, perfectly and tenderly.  i know life seems unfair at times-- this might be because of: personal trials/struggles; burdens placed upon us because of the careless acts of others, sometimes those we trusted at true friends; regret and remorse; or lack of understanding.  i know that if we trust in God we will realize that all that is wrong about life can be made right because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  the Atonement is the single most important event to ever occur on this earth.  the Atonement consisted of Jesus Christ suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, being nailed to the cross and breaking the bands of death, and being Resurrected, thus allowing us to one day live with our families forever.  the Atonement occurred because Jesus Christ loves you; he loves me.  and if you were the only person to ever live on the earth, Jesus Christ still would have died for you!  because he loves you THAT much!  isn't it incredible!?  i know that the way others treat us is a reflection of them, not us.  i know that no matter how many mistakes we have made, there is always a second chance.  and a third chance.  and a fourth chance.  and a 504,293rd chance.

one of my favorite scriptures can be found in the Book of Mormon, in the book of Ether.  in the 6th chapter we read about a group of people, the Jaredites, who are attempting to cross large bodies of water in order to get from one land to another.  up to this point we have read how they are crossing the water in these barges -- i imagine them to be like hallowed almonds  -- and how they have prepared for this journey and are going for it.  in verse 5 we read, "and it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters."  yes, you read that correctly-- the Lord caused the winds to blow.  why would he do that?  doesn't he realize that this journey would be hard enough without nausea and seasickness?   what we read a few verses later is that it's BECAUSE of the furious winds that the barges are able to make it to the promised land!

we are studying symbolism in my religion class and this chapter is chalk full of symbols.  according to the doctrine of ali (aka my opinion), the wind = trials & the promised land = becoming the people God needs us to become.  IF it's because of the wind that the Jaredites were able to get to the promised land faster, THEN the trials we go through allow us to become the people God needs us to become.  it's all about God's timing-- not our own.  i know that to be true.

i know that sometimes we might reeeeallllllly want something and work uber hard and not get it.  we might wonder, "why isn't (fill in the blank) working out?  i've done everything i should be doing!  i'm doing (fill in the blank some more) and (fill in the blank with more accomplishments) and (fill in the blank) isn't happening.  does God not love me enough to give me what i want?"  oh, my friend, on the contrary, he loves you more than you think-- and sometimes when the fill-in-the-blank that you want doesn't happen, it's because God has better things in store for you.  i know this to be true.  i know that God already has everything planned out; if we will trust in him, and his timing, we will be the happiest.  isn't it amazing to know that God loves you enough to withhold (fill in the blank) because he knows something else will make you happier??

these are just a few of the things i know to be true.  i am especially thankful that in 15 days sister mahterian #2 will come home and the family will be 80% complete again -- thankfully sister mahterian #3 only has 12 months left :)

maybe the reason i'm writing is because i need to internalize my thoughts and feelings.  or maybe you can benefit from my observations and realizations.  whatever the reason, i hope you feel the love of God -- today and always :)

p.s. i love this place & these people.